Boutique Design - July/August 2017 - 46
MACAEL MARBLE at
If you haven't thought about marble lately, think again. A gala June 14
reception I attended, hosted by Spain's Macael marble brand at New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art, proved that nothing is "written in stone" (pun intended).
Though the SRO gathering began in the room housing the historic 16th century
patio of the Castle of Velez Blanco, the focus was on the present and future of
marble as a design element. Presentations on the economic and aesthetic impact
of this natural stone native to Andalusia-sponsored by Empresarios del Marmol
Asociacion, Extenda (the Trade Promotion Agency of Andalusia), Junta de Andalusia and the European Union's Regional Development Fund-showcased new
robotic techniques and other innovations in quarrying and finishing marble that
are creating fresh solutions for a broad range of design concepts.
The trend is toward rougher finishes, according to Andres Maza, general
manager, Stone Cross, a supplier of natural stone based in Murcia, Spain.
"Although we have a wide range of color options, the preferences are still white,
black and gray," Maza said. New types of quarrying techniques also mean more
choices for showing off the patterns within the stone, added Mikel Orbe, head
of the interiors and fashion department for the Trade Commission of Spain.
Designers agree. "There are infinite possibilities for the shapes and forms
that can be achieved. This ancient material has become modern," said Rafael
Alvarez, co-owner of New York-based Alvarez + Brock Design. "We are making
pasta shapes in marble for a new line of furniture using different textures and
colors. I always like to choose the marble slabs myself. It is the best way to
ensure the end product will be what I envision."
It's not just the texture, but also the range of applications that justifies a
rethinking of how marble fits with contemporary design. Earl Jackson, head of the
New York City/Jersey Shore-based Architecture Workshop bearing his name and
adjunct associate professor at Columbia University, is developing a design for a
church plaza that will send six pairs of marble wings soaring nearly 40 ft. in the air.
On the ground, Jackson is working with the companies in Macael to
develop "a new type of stone furniture that is pure in form, appears light on the
landscape and is alluring to the touch. The pieces are designed to be the love
seats of stone furniture. They are gracious in scale for one, but have been carefully designed to bring two people together in intimate ways. They connect us
to our partner at our shoulders and hips."
boutiquedesign.com july + August 2017
Pamela Durante, who heads Atelier Durante Interior Design based in New
York and also serves as an ambassador for the Macael marble brand, likes big
statements. "Today the craze is working with slabs of marble, the bigger the
better. There are so many choices. The challenge is to pick the correct finish for
the intended application. What you select for a residential project is often
different from a commercial project. I lean toward a combination of small
mosaic tiles on the floor and large slabs for the walls, not much in between. I
still love the 'classics' with a polished finish and pure warm white marble
devoid of gray that can only be found at Macael."
Antonio Sanchez, president of the Assn. of Marble Companies of Andalusia
and owner of Spanish marble exporter, Camar, offered inspiration with shots of
exteriors and interiors punctuated with vibrantly colored marble, as well as
white-clad walls that used lighting to craft varying effects throughout the day.
Ana Granados, New York-based general manager of Spanish producer/distributor Cosentino, pointed out that marble's inherent low porosity is opening up
opportunities beyond sinks and bathtubs to create hygienic surfaces for chef 's
tables and other focal elements in restaurants.
Even with technology, the importance of hand-finishing continues to
expand the options designers have for customization, said Gaspar Llanes,
secretary of economy for the regional government of Andalusia and president
of Extenda. Pedro Morenes, the ambassador of Spain to the United States,
noted that customer demand for authentic materials is sparking increasing
sales volume for stone sourced in Macael, particularly in the United States,
which is the world's third largest importer of natural stone from Spain.
Other companies participating in the event were: Crumar; Cuellar Stone;
Marmoles Hermasa; Marmoles La Vina; Marmoles Luis Sanchez; Marmoles
Gutierrez Mena; Tino Stone; Marmoles Perez Garcia and AP Marmoles.
- Mary Scoviak
1 Left to right: Mary Scoviak, executive editor, Boutique Design, Pamela Durante,
owner, Atelier Durante Interior Design and Mikel Orbe, head of the interiors and
fashion department for the Trade Commission of Spain. 2 Rafael Alvarez, co-owner,
Alvarez + Brock Design 3 Earl Jackson, founder, Earl Jackson Architecture Workshop
and adjunct associate professor at Columbia University
Jenna Ba scom Photogr aPh y
BD ON THE ROAD: